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Self supported touring with a dog trailer. Lightweight Carbon or Sturdy Steel?

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Self supported touring with a dog trailer. Lightweight Carbon or Sturdy Steel?

Old 06-20-13, 11:02 PM
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Self supported touring with a dog trailer. Lightweight Carbon or Sturdy Steel?

Hi everyone,

I'm starting to plan the first of many long distance bike trips and am not sure what kind of bike I want to get.

First off, I will be taking my 60lb dog with me where ever I go so a trailer is a given. I'm thinking the dog trailer with automatic brakes from https://cycletote.com/

Second, I'll be adapting my backpacking gear to this trip so I'm confident I can keep my cargo small and light: 35-45lbs of cargo would include EVERYTHING my pup and I would need on a 5 day stretch, including food and 2L of water.

Third, I want my bike to be versatile enough to be able to handle some light duty off road use and medium-fast paced road rides.

Last, I'm aiming to pick a bike with relatively familiar geometry. I used to ride a Surly Steamroller and regularly did 60+ mile rides on it with 1 or 2 centuries mixed in there and was NEVER uncomfortable.

I figure since I'm going to have a small load and a trailer I shouldn't have to put much if anything on the bike itself. I'm thinking a minimal handlebar bag so I have somewhere to keep my itinerary/map visible, and frame bag with a water bladder and whatever spill over I might have with the handlebar bag.

In your opinion, would I need a heavy duty steel frame? Could I get away with carbon fiber? I was thinking of the Surly Cross Check and the Trek Cronus CX Pro specifically, both of which I could get through the bike shop I work at at discount, and we're talking a 9lb dif between the bikes.

If the weight is on a trailer with its own brakes do you think I need to worry about it? Should I go CF or steel?

Thanks,
Nick

Me : 150lb
Dog: 60lb
Trailer: 25lb
Cargo: 35lb
Subtotal minus bike: 270lbs
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Old 06-21-13, 05:24 AM
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I would not use a CF bike for towing, but that may be just me. Also have you looked at the Burley Tailwagon? I have friends that have them and love them, I prefer a trailer that tows from a low mount point rather than the seat post.

Aaron
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Old 06-21-13, 06:37 AM
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35-45 pounds of load is not a small load, that's a regular load. Does the trailer you are looking at really have capacity to carry all that and the dog? Will the dog have enough room? If you are saying the trailer weighs 25 you picked the small dog trailer, but you have a medium/large dog, and plan to put your gear in there too?

The trailer weighs 25-35 pounds the dog 60 and the load 45. That is 120-140 pounds, plus whatever the bike weighs, say 25-35. You will need much lower gears than either of those bikes has.

I wouldn't use carbon, but you could contact the trailer manufacturer and see if they have a recommendation or any info about what sort of forces a 100+ pound trailer would put on the bike.

Make sure your dog likes touring before you head out on a long trip.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:17 AM
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Nick, Every now and then on a charity ride I'll come across somebody pulling a dog, often medium sized. The most popular trailer seems either a converted child's trailer or something purpose built that is much the same design. I would opt for a trailer that attaches to the rear triangle drop out area as there would be less leverage on the bike when, for example, the dog simply stands up, does doughnuts and lies back down. The trailers aren't loaded with anything other than the dog and the dog's support items so I can't guess whether the whole rig would be more, or less stable with more weight.

Brad
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Old 06-21-13, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
35-45 pounds of load is not a small load, that's a regular load. Does the trailer you are looking at really have capacity to carry all that and the dog? Will the dog have enough room? If you are saying the trailer weighs 25 you picked the small dog trailer, but you have a medium/large dog, and plan to put your gear in there too?

The trailer weighs 25-35 pounds the dog 60 and the load 45. That is 120-140 pounds, plus whatever the bike weighs, say 25-35. You will need much lower gears than either of those bikes has.
The dog + the low end estimate of the gear eight approaches the trailer's weight capacity. Witht the upper end gear estimate, the capacity is exceeded. I also thought the same thing about space.

BTW...Did you see the cost of the brake option? $499 for solid axle. $533 for the QR axle version, which would seem wise on a tour in the event of a flat.

And about that braking system:

"Sturmey Archer alloy drum brake hubs are activated by an actuator built into the tow bar. Using the bikes brakes, or going down hill, pushes the trailer toward the bicycle. A rod is moved in the actuator, which then pulls the brake cables and slows the trailer."

As I read this, every time you go down hill the brakes will automatically engage, whether you need them or not. In fact, how can the braking system tell the difference between going down hill and slowing due to coasting? The momentum of the trailer could cause the trailer to move closer to the bike when one slows due to coasting. (Think of a rail car contuning to move forward after the locomotive has been throttled back.) That all seems like it would be annoying.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:37 AM
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Put a harness on Fido and let it pull you. That's what dogs do....work... and they have great endurance

;-)
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Old 06-21-13, 10:50 AM
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Having just purchased a different trailer, the automatic brake system caught my eye. In other forums, users of the system report no drag and good progressive braking. The actuator applies the braked only when the trailer is going faster than the bike, ie pushing the bike. As soon as the push is relived, so are the brakes.
I wonder if they have brake actuation in the case of trailer separation? An unfortunate accident for camping gear or children turns more serious when a dog is involved.
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Old 06-21-13, 10:53 AM
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Wahoonc: I am copying your sigy for this.

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"_krazygluon



Add carbon fiber in there at less than 50 years of development.

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Old 06-21-13, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick The Beard
Hi everyone,

I'm starting to plan the first of many long distance bike trips and am not sure what kind of bike I want to get.

First off, I will be taking my 60lb dog with me where ever I go so a trailer is a given. I'm thinking the dog trailer with automatic brakes from https://cycletote.com/

Second, I'll be adapting my backpacking gear to this trip so I'm confident I can keep my cargo small and light: 35-45lbs of cargo would include EVERYTHING my pup and I would need on a 5 day stretch, including food and 2L of water.

Third, I want my bike to be versatile enough to be able to handle some light duty off road use and medium-fast paced road rides.

Last, I'm aiming to pick a bike with relatively familiar geometry. I used to ride a Surly Steamroller and regularly did 60+ mile rides on it with 1 or 2 centuries mixed in there and was NEVER uncomfortable.

I figure since I'm going to have a small load and a trailer I shouldn't have to put much if anything on the bike itself. I'm thinking a minimal handlebar bag so I have somewhere to keep my itinerary/map visible, and frame bag with a water bladder and whatever spill over I might have with the handlebar bag.

In your opinion, would I need a heavy duty steel frame? Could I get away with carbon fiber? I was thinking of the Surly Cross Check and the Trek Cronus CX Pro specifically, both of which I could get through the bike shop I work at at discount, and we're talking a 9lb dif between the bikes.

If the weight is on a trailer with its own brakes do you think I need to worry about it? Should I go CF or steel?

Thanks,
Nick

Me : 150lb
Dog: 60lb
Trailer: 25lb
Cargo: 35lb
Subtotal minus bike: 270lbs
There is no benefit going for CF unless you are planning to do exclusively light. What you need is a cross bike like a Salsa Vaya or a Salsa Collosal which is geared towards more performance riding with a slight flair for touring. Carbon frames do not allow you to take on fatter tires for off-road stuff anyhow, so you can scratch CF off your list.

In terms of gearing however, you are better served with a a compact triple chainring with the emphasis on lower gearing. In your case, you will need more predominantly lower gearing because you're towing so much weight behind you. The downside to this is that, you will need to swap the chain rings and proper chain length back to higher gearing once you finish touring. If you're just touring occassionally however, then it's fine to do the swap. If you don't, then I suggest looking into getting 2 bikes.

The contrast between what you want to do application wise is so far out that, you will not be happy with just 1 bike. I tour with a carbon bike as well as a steel touring bike. I use the steel for towing a trailer simply because it's got much lower gears. The carbon bike preserves the higher road gearing, perfect for credit card touring anyhow.
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Old 06-21-13, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick The Beard
...In your opinion, would I need a heavy duty steel frame? Could I get away with carbon fiber? I was thinking of the Surly Cross Check and the Trek Cronus CX Pro specifically, both of which I could get through the bike shop I work at at discount, and we're talking a 9lb dif between the bikes.

If the weight is on a trailer with its own brakes do you think I need to worry about it? Should I go CF or steel?

Thanks,
Nick

Me : 150lb
Dog: 60lb
Trailer: 25lb
Cargo: 35lb
Subtotal minus bike: 270lbs
You can spend ~$1,000 for a SCC that will result in an approximate total load of (270+30)=300 lbs, or

you can spend ~$2,000 for a TCC that will result in an approximate total load of (270+21)=291 lbs.

So, $1,000 premium to reduce load 9 lbs out of 300, or 3%. Seems simple math to me, get the Surly.

The Cycletote trailer attaches to bike by seatpost. This is not the usual way a heavy trailer is attached to a bike - most utilize a rear axle or chainstay connection. Burley sells a pet trailer, may be worth consideration as an alternative. Also, the auto brake system sounds problematic.

I could find no mention of a weight limit for the Cycletote trailer, but I bet 95 lbs is over the limit. Even Burley's heaviest Flatbed trailer has a 100 lb weight limit.

I wouldn't want to attach 120 lbs of trailered load to a seatpost. I wouldn't want to try this even with an axle or chainstay connector on what is essentially a CF racing bike. I think the Surly is more likely to survive this treatment than the Trek. Trek CX bikes have a 300 lb weigh limit, and you are already at 90% of the limit, leaving little room for additional unplanned load.

People have carried pets on tours before (Hank at CG), but I have to think both bicyclist and pet would be better off with the pet taken care of by a friend or relative, and not toted around in the hot sun on a constantly moving object with scary noise from passing motor vehicle traffic and subject to sudden turns and stops. I would not subject my own pets to this ordeal. Leaving pooch at home is the best solution to your "problem" (if you do this then the Trek makes more sense).
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Old 06-21-13, 04:49 PM
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Thanks for all the great replies!

Here's some background info. The idea for the trek comes from our unsuccessful attempt at thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail last year. My pup and I managed to hike about 1150 of the 2184 before the combination of a tickborne disease and stress of hiking 20+ miles/day with 3-10lbs on his back for months got to him and I realized it wouldn't be healthy for him to keep hiking. I was kinda happy he quit because I wasn't going to let myself even though I really wanted to.

So now the plan is to recover and train so that sometime around March 2015 I can ride from my front door in Tampa, FL north towards Waynesboro, VA, mirroring the AT as much as possible so I could re-visit certain sections for day hikes, probably along the Blue Ridge Parkway for stretches. Once I get to Waynesboro, VA I'll pack up the bike and canoe along the Shennandoah River north towards Harpers Ferry, WV to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's headquarters where we'll start hiking north towards Katahdin, ME. This time around I'll be carrying Bruce's food and we'll be aiming to hike 13 miles per day during cooler weather so I'm hoping Bruce will make it to Maine with me, but even if he doesn't I'll know he had a pretty sweet adventure.


Originally Posted by wahoonc
I would not use a CF bike for towing, but that may be just me. Also have you looked at the Burley Tailwagon? I have friends that have them and love them, I prefer a trailer that tows from a low mount point rather than the seat post.

Aaron
We sell Burley at the shop I work at and they look great, but I'm pretty into the idea of Cycletote for a few reasons.

1) The automatic brakes- The reviews I've read are all positive and they're Sturmey Archer so I have faith that they'll work the way they're supposed to. I imagine that having 100+lbs pushing at the back of my bike on downhills would make controlling the bike a PITA.
2) Full size wheels- Less spares to carry if one size fits all. Bigger wheels roll over obstacles better.
3) Roll cage design- I can stack gear on top of the trailer leaving more room for Bruce to get cozy.

Originally Posted by valygrl
35-45 pounds of load is not a small load, that's a regular load. Does the trailer you are looking at really have capacity to carry all that and the dog? Will the dog have enough room? If you are saying the trailer weighs 25 you picked the small dog trailer, but you have a medium/large dog, and plan to put your gear in there too?

The trailer weighs 25-35 pounds the dog 60 and the load 45. That is 120-140 pounds, plus whatever the bike weighs, say 25-35. You will need much lower gears than either of those bikes has.

I wouldn't use carbon, but you could contact the trailer manufacturer and see if they have a recommendation or any info about what sort of forces a 100+ pound trailer would put on the bike.

Make sure your dog likes touring before you head out on a long trip.
35-45 is including 15lbs of food, 4 lbs of water, and an additional 10lbs of dog food which I was under the impression most weren't counting when giving their loaded weights. Realistically I see myself cutting 15-20lbs from that number since I wont be 5 days between town stops.

I've contacted an owner who uses the small size with her 120lb dog who says the dog is very comfy even with some stuff back there. I plan on strapping most of my gear to the top of the trailer unless he wants to use it as a pillow.

Changing the gearing has always been on the mind. I ride a fixed gear bike in FL so I know nothing but gears and only a little about pushing.

The great thing about the auto brake system is that it will soak up a bunch of that load. Check out the details, its pretty sweet.

Bruce is a total adventure dog. He hasn't tried cycling but he's walked from 1125 between GA-PA and NY-CT plus hundreds more in FL and has spent days out paddling on the river and does great hanging out nice and calm in the back of my canoe.

Originally Posted by bradtx
Nick, Every now and then on a charity ride I'll come across somebody pulling a dog, often medium sized. The most popular trailer seems either a converted child's trailer or something purpose built that is much the same design. I would opt for a trailer that attaches to the rear triangle drop out area as there would be less leverage on the bike when, for example, the dog simply stands up, does doughnuts and lies back down. The trailers aren't loaded with anything other than the dog and the dog's support items so I can't guess whether the whole rig would be more, or less stable with more weight.

Brad
That's the main concern I have but having seen a couple videos of the trailer in action and seeing how the ball joint works I'm thinking it might not be so bad.

Originally Posted by indyfabz
The dog + the low end estimate of the gear eight approaches the trailer's weight capacity. Witht the upper end gear estimate, the capacity is exceeded. I also thought the same thing about space.

BTW...Did you see the cost of the brake option? $499 for solid axle. $533 for the QR axle version, which would seem wise on a tour in the event of a flat.

And about that braking system:

"Sturmey Archer alloy drum brake hubs are activated by an actuator built into the tow bar. Using the bikes brakes, or going down hill, pushes the trailer toward the bicycle. A rod is moved in the actuator, which then pulls the brake cables and slows the trailer."

As I read this, every time you go down hill the brakes will automatically engage, whether you need them or not. In fact, how can the braking system tell the difference between going down hill and slowing due to coasting? The momentum of the trailer could cause the trailer to move closer to the bike when one slows due to coasting. (Think of a rail car contuning to move forward after the locomotive has been throttled back.) That all seems like it would be annoying.

Again, I was thinking of going with the large until I saw that someone was successfully using it with a 120lb dog.

Expensive but well ingenious. From what I've read the brakes only activate when the trailer is pushing against the bike so in theory I wouldn't have to worry about drag. Has anyone here used one?

Originally Posted by lenA
Put a harness on Fido and let it pull you. That's what dogs do....work... and they have great endurance

;-)
Nah, the whole idea is that he gets to take it easy as payback for being such a good pup.

Originally Posted by MichaelW
Having just purchased a different trailer, the automatic brake system caught my eye. In other forums, users of the system report no drag and good progressive braking. The actuator applies the braked only when the trailer is going faster than the bike, ie pushing the bike. As soon as the push is relived, so are the brakes.
I wonder if they have brake actuation in the case of trailer separation? An unfortunate accident for camping gear or children turns more serious when a dog is involved.
That's what I heard too. No idea on accidental separation but but I guess I just have to double check that I have everything hooked up properly before moving on.

Originally Posted by pacificcyclist
There is no benefit going for CF unless you are planning to do exclusively light. What you need is a cross bike like a Salsa Vaya or a Salsa Collosal which is geared towards more performance riding with a slight flair for touring. Carbon frames do not allow you to take on fatter tires for off-road stuff anyhow, so you can scratch CF off your list.

In terms of gearing however, you are better served with a a compact triple chainring with the emphasis on lower gearing. In your case, you will need more predominantly lower gearing because you're towing so much weight behind you. The downside to this is that, you will need to swap the chain rings and proper chain length back to higher gearing once you finish touring. If you're just touring occassionally however, then it's fine to do the swap. If you don't, then I suggest looking into getting 2 bikes.

The contrast between what you want to do application wise is so far out that, you will not be happy with just 1 bike. I tour with a carbon bike as well as a steel touring bike. I use the steel for towing a trailer simply because it's got much lower gears. The carbon bike preserves the higher road gearing, perfect for credit card touring anyhow.
The Salsa's have very diff geometry than what I know I'm comfortable with. I wish I had a chance to try one out to see how I liked it. The Trek Cronus is a cross bike, that's the only reason I'm thinking it could handle a little more.

I plan on getting several bikes down the road, but right now my priority is on finding a bike for this next adventure. I have no problem swapping out parts from time to time to have it suit my needs as they change.

Originally Posted by seeker333
You can spend ~$1,000 for a SCC that will result in an approximate total load of (270+30)=300 lbs, or

you can spend ~$2,000 for a TCC that will result in an approximate total load of (270+21)=291 lbs.

So, $1,000 premium to reduce load 9 lbs out of 300, or 3%. Seems simple math to me, get the Surly.

The Cycletote trailer attaches to bike by seatpost. This is not the usual way a heavy trailer is attached to a bike - most utilize a rear axle or chainstay connection. Burley sells a pet trailer, may be worth consideration as an alternative. Also, the auto brake system sounds problematic.

I could find no mention of a weight limit for the Cycletote trailer, but I bet 95 lbs is over the limit. Even Burley's heaviest Flatbed trailer has a 100 lb weight limit.

I wouldn't want to attach 120 lbs of trailered load to a seatpost. I wouldn't want to try this even with an axle or chainstay connector on what is essentially a CF racing bike. I think the Surly is more likely to survive this treatment than the Trek. Trek CX bikes have a 300 lb weigh limit, and you are already at 90% of the limit, leaving little room for additional unplanned load.

People have carried pets on tours before (Hank at CG), but I have to think both bicyclist and pet would be better off with the pet taken care of by a friend or relative, and not toted around in the hot sun on a constantly moving object with scary noise from passing motor vehicle traffic and subject to sudden turns and stops. I would not subject my own pets to this ordeal. Leaving pooch at home is the best solution to your "problem" (if you do this then the Trek makes more sense).
I know it sounds like a lot of money for a little bit of improvement, but weight is rarely dropped in huge chunks. If there's one thing I learned carrying my 40lb pack for 1175 miles its that if you can lose an ounce, you should... but yeah $1000 is a lot of money for 3%.

I think you're missing the appeal of the automatic brakes. They will take a lot of the load stress of the bike since the trailer will stop itself when the bike stops. Cycletote lists the weight limit as 100lbs but I know of dog owners using it with their 120lb behemoth. Also I'm pretty sure my load will be a little lighter than stated in my first post since the weights I gave included 5 days of food for my dog and I and I don't expect to need anywhere near that much.

I guess I'm just spending too much time at the shop I'm at. Too many roadies on their 14lb bikes trying to talk me into getting the same.

Bruce isn't staying home. He clearly loves getting out and I'd feel bad leaving him at home. This adventure is just as much for him as it is for me.
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Old 06-21-13, 05:41 PM
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No bike advice but I travel with my 12 lb. Jack Russell all the time. Our longest trip was last August from Seattle to Eureka CA. He rides in a basket on the rear rack and loves it. Downhills find him sticking his head ou trying to get as much air as possible.

He's a great traveler and like you, I can't imagine leaving him at home.

Good luck!
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Old 06-21-13, 06:07 PM
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Steel

Originally Posted by Nick The Beard
Thanks for all the great replies!

Here's some background info. The idea for the trek comes from our unsuccessful attempt at thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail last year. My pup and I managed to hike about 1150 of the 2184 before the combination of a tickborne disease and stress of hiking 20+ miles/day with 3-10lbs on his back for months got to him and I realized it wouldn't be healthy for him to keep hiking. I was kinda happy he quit because I wasn't going to let myself even though I really wanted to.

So now the plan is to recover and train so that sometime around March 2015 I can ride from my front door in Tampa, FL north towards Waynesboro, VA, mirroring the AT as much as possible so I could re-visit certain sections for day hikes, probably along the Blue Ridge Parkway for stretches. Once I get to Waynesboro, VA I'll pack up the bike and canoe along the Shennandoah River north towards Harpers Ferry, WV to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's headquarters where we'll start hiking north towards Katahdin, ME. This time around I'll be carrying Bruce's food and we'll be aiming to hike 13 miles per day during cooler weather so I'm hoping Bruce will make it to Maine with me, but even if he doesn't I'll know he had a pretty sweet adven



We sell Burley at the shop I work at and they look great, but I'm pretty into the idea of Cycletote for a few reasons.

1) The automatic brakes- The reviews I've read are all positive and they're Sturmey Archer so I have faith that they'll work the way they're supposed to. I imagine that having 100+lbs pushing at the back of my bike on downhills would make controlling the bike a PITA.
2) Full size wheels- Less spares to carry if one size fits all. Bigger wheels roll over obstacles better.
3) Roll cage design- I can stack gear on top of the trailer leaving more room for Bruce to get cozy.



35-45 is including 15lbs of food, 4 lbs of water, and an additional 10lbs of dog food which I was under the impression most weren't counting when giving their loaded weights. Realistically I see myself cutting 15-20lbs from that number since I wont be 5 days between town stops.

I've contacted an owner who uses the small size with her 120lb dog who says the dog is very comfy even with some stuff back there. I plan on strapping most of my gear to the top of the trailer unless he wants to use it as a pillow.

Changing the gearing has always been on the mind. I ride a fixed gear bike in FL so I know nothing but gears and only a little about pushing.

The great thing about the auto brake system is that it will soak up a bunch of that load. Check out the details, its pretty sweet.

Bruce is a total adventure dog. He hasn't tried cycling but he's walked from 1125 between GA-PA and NY-CT plus hundreds more in FL and has spent days out paddling on the river and does great hanging out nice and calm in the back of my canoe.



That's the main concern I have but having seen a couple videos of the trailer in action and seeing how the ball joint works I'm thinking it might not be so bad.




Again, I was thinking of going with the large until I saw that someone was successfully using it with a 120lb dog.

Expensive but well ingenious. From what I've read the brakes only activate when the trailer is pushing against the bike so in theory I wouldn't have to worry about drag. Has anyone here used one?



Nah, the whole idea is that he gets to take it easy as payback for being such a good pup.



That's what I heard too. No idea on accidental separation but but I guess I just have to double check that I have everything hooked up properly before moving on.



The Salsa's have very diff geometry than what I know I'm comfortable with. I wish I had a chance to try one out to see how I liked it. The Trek Cronus is a cross bike, that's the only reason I'm thinking it could handle a little more.

I plan on getting several bikes down the road, but right now my priority is on finding a bike for this next adventure. I have no problem swapping out parts from time to time to have it suit my needs as they change.



I know it sounds like a lot of money for a little bit of improvement, but weight is rarely dropped in huge chunks. If there's one thing I learned carrying my 40lb pack for 1175 miles its that if you can lose an ounce, you should... but yeah $1000 is a lot of money for 3%.

I think you're missing the appeal of the automatic brakes. They will take a lot of the load stress of the bike since the trailer will stop itself when the bike stops. Cycletote lists the weight limit as 100lbs but I know of dog owners using it with their 120lb behemoth. Also I'm pretty sure my load will be a little lighter than stated in my first post since the weights I gave included 5 days of food for my dog and I and I don't expect to need anywhere near that much.

I guess I'm just spending too much time at the shop I'm at. Too many roadies on their 14lb bikes trying to talk me into getting the same.

Bruce isn't staying home. He clearly loves getting out and I'd feel bad leaving him at home. This adventure is just as much for him as it is for me.
Go , but let Bdog have some small adventures out of the trailer , look for rail to trail sections for that . PS in prep rent a old sci-fi flic "A Boy and His Dog ", Cheers
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Old 06-21-13, 09:46 PM
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15 lbs of food for yourself sounds way, way too high. You should be able to find markets and farm stands every day, especially in the eastern US; it's not like you're on the Alaska Highway! When unsure about food nearby a planned campsite, I do carry some extra emergency rations, such as a box of mac 'n' cheese mix and some granola, which makes a good dinner and breakfast in a pinch. Granola cooks up into some great oatmeal, too. Usually I'll try and get some fresh veggies and fruits at stands or markets as close to the planned campsite as possible...maybe you're looking at this from the thru-hiker's perspective, but that doesn't apply when bike touring.

I think most dogs would love the trip in the trailer, as long as it's not too hot back there.
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Old 06-21-13, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
15 lbs of food for yourself sounds way, way too high. You should be able to find markets and farm stands every day, especially in the eastern US; it's not like you're on the Alaska Highway! When unsure about food nearby a planned campsite, I do carry some extra emergency rations, such as a box of mac 'n' cheese mix and some granola, which makes a good dinner and breakfast in a pinch. Granola cooks up into some great oatmeal, too. Usually I'll try and get some fresh veggies and fruits at stands or markets as close to the planned campsite as possible...maybe you're looking at this from the thru-hiker's perspective, but that doesn't apply when bike touring.

I think most dogs would love the trip in the trailer, as long as it's not too hot back there.
I figured. The weights I gave initially were used as max numbers. A worst case scenario kind of thing. Another reason I'd want to mirror the route of the AT is that it would keep me close to trail towns for easy access to hostels and re-supply points.
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Old 06-22-13, 05:11 AM
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Sounds like quite an adventure. You mention the Blue Ridge Parkway - you'll need some really low gears for that. Maybe not so much for the Parkway but for the times when you'll need to drop off the ridge for supplies and return most of those side roads up to the parkway are fairly steep. You'll definitely be glad of those automatic brakes on the way down. I've seen plenty of reports of overheated rims on the descents off the Parkway. You might want to think about riding in the valley instead.

I'm in Atlanta and if I can be of help on your ride please contact me.
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Old 06-22-13, 06:21 AM
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I missed the part about automatic brakes. Have to check into that, however if you run a bike with disc brakes it might not be as big an issue. FWIW I have a 45# Jack Russell/Walker Treeing Hound mix that likes to ride. His main goal in life it to ride on anything on the farm that moves... that and capture crickets I haven't taken him on a bike trailer yet, because I don't have a usable one at the moment. He does ride in the small trailers that go behind the yard mower.

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Old 06-22-13, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mrveloman
Sounds like quite an adventure. You mention the Blue Ridge Parkway - you'll need some really low gears for that. Maybe not so much for the Parkway but for the times when you'll need to drop off the ridge for supplies and return most of those side roads up to the parkway are fairly steep. You'll definitely be glad of those automatic brakes on the way down. I've seen plenty of reports of overheated rims on the descents off the Parkway. You might want to think about riding in the valley instead.


I'm in Atlanta and if I can be of help on your ride please contact me.
mike

I'd like to try the stupid route if its more scenic but then again I've never dealt with hills so we'll see what happens. I'm ok with keeping things flexible and though I don't want to carry days worth of food I know I'll have the capacity if plans change.

Also thanks for the offer. I'm still a couple years away but I'm sure I'll be on the forums before I go.

Originally Posted by wahoonc
I missed the part about automatic brakes. Have to check into that, however if you run a bike with disc brakes it might not be as big an issue. FWIW I have a 45# Jack Russell/Walker Treeing Hound mix that likes to ride. His main goal in life it to ride on anything on the farm that moves... that and capture crickets I haven't taken him on a bike trailer yet, because I don't have a usable one at the moment. He does ride in the small trailers that go behind the yard mower.

Aaron
Another thing I was thinking is that I could purchase a Surly LHT disc fork for the rig. TRP is coming out with a hydraulic disc setup that would work great for a touring bike with bar end or downtube shifters.

https://www.cxmagazine.com/trp-hylex-...eed-cyclocross

Too bad the CC doesn't have mounts for a rear disc....
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Old 06-22-13, 09:23 PM
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Sounds like quite the adventure.
I built a home made 2-wheeled trailer many years ago to be towed behind my low geared non-suspended mountain bike. I used that combo for riding on logging roads in the mountains for fishing and hunting. I attached a double swivel at the end of the trailer tongue onto a heavy duty rear bike rack.
I put regular bike brakes on the wheels, which were controlled by normal brake cabling to the bike brake handle normally going to the bike front wheel. It would work well enough if I went down hills slowly. I carried up to 200+ lbs. (deer plus some gear) with that contraption. I would suggest that you put most of your non-dog weight heavily balanced to the front of your bike rather than the trailer. The reason being that when cycling up grades, the heavily loaded trailer will want to lift the front of your bike. Secondly, you always want the towing vehicle to weigh much more than the trailer if possible for control purposes, especially if sudden moves are made.
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Old 06-24-13, 11:30 PM
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Hi Nick, Like many others I would caution you to check with the mfc before attaching a trailer to a cf bike. We just returned from our first foray, a short hub & spoke tour, with our small King Charles Spaniel. The pup loved it and while it isn't as convenient since it's similar to taking a small child, we enjoyed having her along. You might be interested in an article on the Crazyguy site which discusses this couple's experience in traveling with two dogs. At the end you'll find links to various trailer & accessory mfcs. See: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=133587&v=14 or do a search for dog trailers on the site if the link doesn't work. Have fun.
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Old 06-25-13, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick The Beard
I know it sounds like a lot of money for a little bit of improvement, but weight is rarely dropped in huge chunks. If there's one thing I learned carrying my 40lb pack for 1175 miles its that if you can lose an ounce, you should... but yeah $1000 is a lot of money for 3%.
That "percentage of total weight including rider" metric gets used a lot, but I think it is a bad way to look at it. I tend to think of it this way, taking a 21 pound item instead of a 30 pound one is a 30% weight savings for that single item. This also applies to small light items. If you manage to make similar decisions for many items you can save very substantial weight.

Even on items where the difference is small it matters. People will say "That tent is only an extra 8 ounces. That is the weight of a good drink of water". The fallacy is that it is one of many choices. If you err on the heavy side for one choice it may be no big deal, but there are many choices and they add up. Also remember that many of those choices can be to leave things behind altogether. I went from carrying 45-50 pounds of gear to 10-15 pounds of gear by going on the lighter side of small choices over and over again. I still was able to comfortably camp and cook.

On the other hand I do think that camping gear and clothing is a more important place to lose weight that the bike itself, especially if the bike becomes less reliable with the weight reduction. Lighter is better, but only if it remains suitable to the usage and reliable enough.

I think that body weight should be considered but as a separate thing. The best approach there is to just try to maintain a healthy weight for you, not necessarily the lightest possible weight. Some of us could stand to lose a few pounds, but lighter isn't necessarily better there for every one. I actually prefer to start a long tour at a little higher body weight because I tend to lose too much weight on tour for the first few weeks.
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Old 06-25-13, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
That "percentage of total weight including rider" metric gets used a lot, but I think it is a bad way to look at it. I tend to think of it this way, taking a 21 pound item instead of a 30 pound one is a 30% weight savings for that single item. This also applies to small light items. If you manage to make similar decisions for many items you can save very substantial weight.

Even on items where the difference is small it matters. People will say "That tent is only an extra 8 ounces. That is the weight of a good drink of water". The fallacy is that it is one of many choices. If you err on the heavy side for one choice it may be no big deal, but there are many choices and they add up. Also remember that many of those choices can be to leave things behind altogether. I went from carrying 45-50 pounds of gear to 10-15 pounds of gear by going on the lighter side of small choices over and over again. I still was able to comfortably camp and cook.

On the other hand I do think that camping gear and clothing is a more important place to lose weight that the bike itself, especially if the bike becomes less reliable with the weight reduction. Lighter is better, but only if it remains suitable to the usage and reliable enough.

I think that body weight should be considered but as a separate thing. The best approach there is to just try to maintain a healthy weight for you, not necessarily the lightest possible weight. Some of us could stand to lose a few pounds, but lighter isn't necessarily better there for every one. I actually prefer to start a long tour at a little higher body weight because I tend to lose too much weight on tour for the first few weeks.
I lost about 30 lbs during my hike last summer despite eating everything in sight. I do plan on doing a small amount of bulking up before I leave this time.

In that time I also got plenty of chances to take a look at the weight I was carrying on my back and toss anything I didn't need. I feel pretty confident about everything but the bike setup.
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